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Mar 3, 2007 04:58 PM

Need Chinese snacks and noodles that travel well

I am a teacher of second grade and we just finished a unit on Chinese culture. I have invited parents in to view the work that the kids did during the unit and for a belated Chinese New Year celebration. Some parents have offered to bring in food but are requesting recipes/ideas for what to bring.

So far I have come up with: tea eggs and fried dough sticks (the kind you would dip into soybean milk or congee).

I would appreciate any suggestions for snack type foods or noodles that are fairly simple to prepare, can be made in advance, and travel well. Can be savory or sweet.


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  1. If you're ok with premade...The Japanese and maybe chinese as well, like to package snacks in individual packets., and sell 20 or so to a bag. Here, in L.A. oriental markets are abundant and the chance for such a buy is certain. Check with your local oriental markets for rice cracker snacks. If not, when I was young I remember making a peanut butter ball with chinese noodles, peanuts and pnbutter. Or, buy wontons, fry and sprinkle w/cinnamon and sugar!! :)KQ

    1. Chinese dumplings (potstickers) are usually a hit with kids and can be found in American or Chinese stores. The snack aisle of an Asian supermarket has tons of excellent packaged snacks. I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't like Pocky.

      2 Replies
      1. re: 2m8ohed

        Pocky is Japanese. It is not Japanese New Year, after all.

        1. re: Gary Soup

          True. Guess you'd have to get the Chinese knock-off pseudo-Pockys! (My bad... I was just thinking of what we grab from the aisles of 99 Ranch Market for the young'uns.) While I'm here, I might as well add that cold sesame noodles travel well.

      2. Chinese Rice Cake (niangao)
        Rice Balls
        Egg custard tarts
        spring rolls (not fried... travel well)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          So would you steam the Bao ahead of time and serve them room temp?

          1. re: tomaneng

            Definitely an option... or keep them in a heat preserver (if you've got one, or if a parent has one).. Wasn't sure if you had a reheating area, but I don't mind bao room temp.

        2. I am wondering if your second grade class is completely new to Chinese cuisine or if they have some experience with Chinese food (like teaching Chinese culture in Chinese weekend school to American born Chinese). The reason that I am asking is that if they are completely new to Chinese cuisine, I would not recommend food that may be too "challenging" or "exotic" to them in flavor. From my experience kids not used to Chinese flavors are less likely to like food like tea eggs or fried dough sticks, or chinese rich cakes. Spring rolls, meat dumplings, egg custard tarts, etc., are probably more "kid-friendly". Simple stir fried egg noodle with soy sauce and scallion (with / without meat and other vegetables). Shrimp chips will be great too, as kids usually resonate with anything crispy and fried =D

          Bao is usually better served hot, but if you can't, it should still be ok as they are usually popular among kids.

          For desserts, how about bringing some Chinese fruits? For instance, asian pears, lychees (not in seasons, so may be the ones in cans), and clementines (which symbolize fortune). There are also the sesame ball dessert filled with sweet bean paste. You can probably get them at some Chinese bakeries.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kobetobiko

            Squid jerky is always a hit - or at least a conversation piece.

            Bao with red bean paste filling would travel better than ones with meat filling.

            Do you want items that parents, with no Chinese background, can easily make? Or items that can be bought at an ordinary grocery? If parents have access to a good Chinese grocery (e.g. 99 Ranch on the west coast), a lot of items are available premade.

            Also do you items that can be eaten with fingers, and no utensils and plates?


            1. re: kobetobiko

              Thanks for the suggestions! I have a pretty worldly crew and I also see it as my position to edify them so I'm not too concerned about familiarity of taste, etc. So many of them have been to our Chinatown (we're in the reater Boston area) already. I'll definitely be doing a fruit plate wth lychee (alas it will hav eto be canned at this time of year), bo luo, oranges, etc. I was thinking about the sesame ball dessert. Would that keep its deliciously crunchy/chewy texture overnight?

              1. re: tomaneng

                If you're thinking of doing fruit, another tasty thing to add to is "almond jello" - If you don't use a mix, you can make gelatin with a bit of almond extract, sugar, and milk added. I don't know how "authentic Chinese" that is, but I am 100% Taiwanese and grew up eating it and having it in Chinese restaurants. Another good thing from a Chinese bakery is "bo lo bao," which translates to "pineapple bun" but doesn't actually contain pineapple. It's a sweet pastry with a slightly crunchy sweet topping and it's usually eaten at room temp. (In defense of Paulj above, I have also eaten squid jerky all my life and thought it was Chinese or Taiwanese. I'm by no means an authority on Chinese culture, but perhaps it was an honest mistake - if it is in fact a mistake - rather than an indication that anyone thinks that Asians "all look same.")

                1. re: tomaneng

                  Hi tomaneng,

                  The sesame balls should be fine with you store them in Ziplock bags or air-tight containers. Another dessert that I can think of is the mini "bao" with custard filling. They are available in Chinese bakeries or you can get frozen ones in Chinese grocery stores. If you have a microwave that you can just heat them up before serving and they should taste great!

                  Just a thought about educating the kids, I think it will be great to link the food to the meaning / symbolization of them in Chinese culture or Chinese New Year. For instance, clementines or tangerines symbol "good fortune", bao rhymes with "full belly" or never get hungry, noodles symbolize "long life", dumplings which shaped like a coin purse, means full of wealth, etc. In addition, decorating the dishes or the room with red ribbons and red pockets will be fun and great too! You probably have thought about them, but I just want to throw in out.

              2. There are a slew of chinese candies that are 'different' -- all manner of preserved plums.

                The boiled peanuts are pretty chinese. And as a kid in Hong Kong, I used to eat the maltose (last pic on this page) by the spoonful :-


                Anything from a chinese bakery would travel well. BBQ Pork or Duck can be served at room temp. Lots of gluten (wheat meat) is made to be eaten at room temp.

                This is one of my favs and it is good at room temp -- the mung bean noodles make it unique. I dress it up to taste, of course, but this recipe'll work